Nissan has unveiled the Versa Sedan for North America at the ongoing New York auto show. As you can see, the Versa Sedan is the same car as the Sunny that debut in Guangzhou last year, but with a different name. In the US, Versa refers to the hatchback we know as the Latio Sport. The busy company also just unveiled the new Tiida hatch in Shanghai.

This 2012 model year Versa Sedan is being tagged as the “Big Small Car”, one that offers mid size tech without the mid size price – it starts at $10,990. The mid size tech Nissan is talking about includes things like Fine Vision instruments, Bluetooth, navigation system with 5-inch touch-screen display, Satellite Radio and an iPod/USB interface.

The Versa Sedan/Sunny sits on Nissan’s global V platform (V for Versatile), which also underpins the March. Compared to the Versa hatchback’s B platform, the V utilises nearly 20% fewer components and weighs around 150 pounds less. Size wise, this car’s footprint isn’t that different from its predecessor (Latio to us); width is the same while length is up by 11 mm to make 4,426 mm.

The 2,600 mm wheelbase is unchanged. Nissan claims better rear legroom than the Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5-Series and Lexus LS460. Sounds incredulous, but having sat in it before, I believe them. Sometimes, it’s not about the bare figures but the packaging.

The exterior is identical with the car we saw in Guangzhou, down to the same rims, and the differences in the cabin is down to spec. The car we see here has steering wheel controls and electric wing mirror controls that the China spec we shot didn’t, but it looks like auto climate control won’t be available in the US – there are three rotary knobs in a triangle in place of the Sunny’s donut-like controls.

Under the hood is the 1.6-litre HR16DE 4-cylinder engine with twin CVTC, bigger brother of the HR15DE used in the Chinese Sunny. Compared to previous versions, this latest HR gets two injectors for every cylinder. The finer spray from the smaller nozzles brings more stable combustion. The engine makes 109 hp at 6,000 rpm and 145 Nm at 4,400 rpm. The Sunny’s HR15DE has 110 hp (112 PS) at 5,600 and 139 Nm at 4,000 rpm.

Transmission options are between a five-speed manual and the Xtronic CVT. The latter is the latest gen design that adds an auxiliary gearbox using planetary gearing, helping improve efficiency. It also has a transmission ratio of 7.3:1, broader than those of conventional CVTs and typical 7-speed autos. Friction is reduced by about 30%, weight by about 13% and overall size by about 10% versus the previous Versa Sedan’s CVT.

To be manufactured at Nissan’s Aguascalientes, Mexico plant that also builds Sentras for the US, the Versa Sedan goes on sale this summer in the States.

Full gallery after the jump. Click here to view the Sunny world debut in China last year.

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